Patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have repeated episodes of partial or complete obstruction of the throat (also known as ‘pharynx’ or ‘upper airway’) during sleep. A narrow floppy throat is also more likely to vibrate during sleep, which causes snoring. If partial or complete obstructions occur breathing is reduced or stops for a short time – from 10 seconds up to a minute or more – and blood oxygen levels fall as a result. A brief interruption to sleep (an arousal) that lasts for as little as 3 seconds then occurs, allowing breathing to start again but your sleep is disrupted as a result. These episodes of obstruction may happen many times – even hundreds of times – overnight. Some people know that their breathing is not normal at night, but may be unaware that this is a medical problem that is causing them harm. Fortunately, good treatments are available.
Once sleep apnoea is suspected a sleep study will be carried out to confirm the diagnosis.
Click here for a sleep study
There are many products on the market to help with snoring, but your dentist can fabricate a device that is custom made for you. It is called a Mandibular Advancement Device and works by holding your lower jaw and tongue forward therefore keeping your airway open whilst you sleep.
The appliances shown above were developed in Australia by the “Somnomed” company in Sydney. Dr Baret has been qualified to use these appliances and others.
To book a consultation with Dr Baret, please call Integrated Dental Health on (02) 4708 7007.